Piplantri is a village situated in the southern Rajasthani District of Rajsamand. The village has now acquired the title of eco-feminist because of its unique and heartwarming practice.
For the last eight years, the villagers are following the tradition of honoring the birth of a girl child by planting 111 trees. Not only that, they even collect 21,000 INR from the denizens of the village which is then deposited along with 10,000 rupees’ contribution from the parents in a fixed deposit account, which can only be withdrawn when the girl becomes twenty years of age.
The practice has dramatically changed the conditions of the village and had earned it a recognition that no other village of that size has had before.
The initiative was started by the former village head Shyam Sundar Paliwal who had lost his beloved daughter Kiran in 2007. The grief-stricken father wanted to do something to honor the memory of his daughter and convinced the village panchayat to begin the aforementioned practice.
The complete particular of the said practice is that whenever a girl child takes birth in this village, the community (responsible for the practice) reaches the parents of the newborn, and makes them sign an affidavit.
By signing the document, the parents take a pledge of providing complete formal education to their daughter, and that they will not marry her off before she has attained the legal age for marriage. Parents, generally, also take the responsibility of the care of the trees; the community had planted on the birth of their ward.
Evidently, the praiseworthy practice was adopted, but what comes as a surprise is that the village still continues it as a revered tradition. The persistence of the villagers is really noteworthy, especially when many other such initiatives have failed despite the full support from the government. Furthermore, as the Karma would have it the people of the village are duly rewarded for the uplifting scheme.
The villagers, in order to save the trees from termites, had planted over two millions plants of Aloe Vera, which, they later came to know, has considerable value in the urban markets.
Now, they plant Aloe Vera for the purpose of sustainability and make various marketable products like gel, pickle, and juice. The plantation has now become a major source of income for many of the Piplantri families.
The village which used to have the appearance of any other village of the desert now gives off the ambiance of an oasis, with more than 24,000 lush green trees surrounding it. The socio-economical upliftment of Piplantri is the live testimony how a cause can change the entire outlook of a society. Let’s hope there will be more such inspirational examples to glorify the Dhora Ri Dharti (Land of golden sand dunes).
Watch this movie story on Piplantri Village by Shubham Production to get an insight of the village.